The Bible House has operated as a Bible Depot in downtown Ottawa since 1922. Photo by Craig Macartney.

Bible House reopening sparks convergence of creativity

Historic building inspires unity through collaborative working space

OTTAWA, ON—The Canadian Bible Society’s historic Bible House is reopening. The building, located in downtown Ottawa, has just completed months of renovations, transforming it into a bustling creative hub for local entrepreneurs, ministries and church-planters.

In mid-May, The Bible House, which has operated as a Bible depot through the Canadian Bible Society (CBS) since 1922, was unveiled as a Kingdom-focused collaborative working environment. Fully furnished with numerous ‘hot desks,’ the space is perfect for local pastors, ministry leaders and entrepreneurs to connect their laptops, use the free wi-fi or simply bask in the creative atmosphere.

“Most church-planters work in coffee shops, so we have white boards and a space that is more work oriented; a creative space to dream,” explains Dave Harder. Harder pastors The Journey, a church-plant that partnered with CBS and the Canadian church-planting network, C2C, to launch the new Bible House vision.

“We see the business world doing this, but how is the Church doing it? I was working out of a collaborative working environment called The Hub and it got me dreaming of what it could look like to have space where Kingdom leaders and church-planters work together for the sake of the community.”

Harder says CBS is generously leasing the space to C2C and The Journey at cost. During the day workspace is available for free and in the evening it can be rented for prayer meetings, workshops and training events.

“The beauty is it still has that ministry focus in downtown Ottawa,” says Don Miller, director of  Canadian Ministries at CBS. “It’s covering our costs on the building and allowing us, as a society, to connect with a lot of people we might not normally connect to in an easy way.”

Miller explains that many of CBS’ bookstores were being subsidized by donations. While they recently decided to close many of their retail locations, this partnership has enabled the historic building to continue acting as a hub of Christian unity for the foreseeable future.

“The Canadian Bible Society is the oldest inter-confessional ministry in Canada. We work with Protestants and Catholics,” Miller says. “Our heart is that inter-confessional aspect of bringing people to the table who wouldn’t necessarily be in conversation together. That’s what we’re trying to facilitate through the building. If people come and  meet people they wouldn’t meet in other contexts, I think we can be stronger for it.”

Harder says their dream is to connect pastors with Christian entrepreneurs and ministry leaders from across all boundaries, working in unity to model forgiveness, reconciliation and to impact the community.

“It was really the desire for unity, where Jesus said, ‘I long that we would be one. As I have loved you love one another.’

“We all want to serve the common good. In our differences can we love one another? Instead of building our own thing, what would it look like to dream together for the sake of the Kingdom?

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About the author


Senior Correspondent

Craig Macartney lives in Ottawa, Ontario, where he follows global politics and dreams of life in the mission field.